What’s going on with the smart grid in Europe? About €5.5 billion ($7.7 billion) worth of projects, according to this new report on the European smart grid scene from the JRC Smart Electricity Systems, the European Commission’s smart grid research group. Sounds like a lot, but according to the report, it’s only a fraction of the anticipated €56 billion ($78.4 billion) to come across Europe by 2020. So where is Europe ahead of the rest of the world, and where is it lagging? Well, much like the U.S. smart grid buildout, most of Europe’s smart grid investments to date are in smart meters, with less going to distribution grid managements systems and automation. The report also cited a relatively small investment in R&D projects, “suggesting the need to invest in larger scale demonstration projects to gain a better knowledge of the functioning and impacts of some innovative solutions.” In another echo of U.S. smart grid discussions, the report cites a pressing need to get consumers involved in smart grid education and use, “to give consumers the freedom to choose their level of involvement and to ensure data privacy and protection.”
Last week, California’s big three utilities — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — released in-depth smart grid deployment roadmaps that include about $5.6 billion in smart grid spending over the coming decade. For smart grid companies, it’s about the closest thing to a detailed plan of attack one could ask for. Of course, much of that money is tied up in ongoing smart meter deployments, and another huge chunk is for transmission and distribution grid projects with a limited range of potential competitors. Still, that leaves plenty of opportunities for nimble companies with key software, networking or hardware technologies to fill the gaps that remain. Here are some of them.
A new report describes the idea of the “Smart Grid 3.0,” which will connect mobile devices and location-based services in real time, and critically, an ecosystem of applications that can run across multiple utility networks.
Smart meters get all the attention, but smart distribution grid and substation projects are actually taking the lead in smart grid spending across the nation, and corporate giants are reaping the benefit. That’s the gist of a Cleantech Group report released by the DOE Thursday.
Echelon has launched a new software-hardware combo to control the distribution portion of the grid. The product has two notable aspects: it’s open to third-party developers, and its first customer will be utility Duke Energy.